By Phil Hecken, with Kyle Evans & CJ Fleck
If it seems like you just read a post previewing the 2018 MLS kits on Uni Watch, you’re not wrong. Due to the fact that neither Paul nor I are really “soccer” guys, we tend to work with readers to bring you news and reviews of the upcoming kits (uniforms) for soccer leagues and tournaments. You guys are likely aware I’ve been working with Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck on numerous soccer uniform reviews for leagues and tournaments and the Olympics (you get the idea) over the past several years. I had planned on doing today’s preview of the 2018 MLS kits for some time.
So, when (unbeknownst to me until it was published), Paul ran a guest article with a 2018 MLS Kit Preview, (“Paul never covers soccer,” I thought), my heart skipped a beat (and not in a good way). All that work Kyle & CJ put in, possibly for naught. But, Paul suggested we run this anyway, as some of you may not have seen the previous article, some of you may just enjoy soccer and a different perspective on the new kits, and well…all the effort that went into this wouldn’t be in vain. So apologies if today’s content is (somewhat) duplicative — but I am sure you’ll enjoy it just the same.
Now then, here are Kyle (who ranks unis on a 0-5 Star basis) and CJ (who gives them his “good” or “stupid” rank) with your…
2018 MLS Kit Preview
By Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck
Thanks Phil! We’re glad to be back for another season of previewing all of the new MLS Kits. There are no drastic league-wide changes as each team is still outfitted by Adidas and each new kit uses one of the two Adidas templates from the past two seasons (with the “three stripes” appearing either on the shoulders or on the sides of the jersey). And as defending champions, Toronto FC add a gold star above their team logo on both their primary and secondary jerseys.
The league is now up to 23 teams as expansion LAFC join the Western Conference. The regular season kicks off Saturday (3/3) afternoon in Toronto.
Keep in mind MLS rotates their kits so that each year a team receives either a new primary or a new secondary kit, meaning that each design is (generally) on the field for two seasons. Enjoy the new kits!
Atlanta United (secondary)
Kyle: Atlanta United are back for their second season and have a new secondary kit which is all-white with orange accents to represent a “Georgia Peach.” I don’t mind the color, but with this and some of the other new kits, over half of the teams in the league now have an all-white kit. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: I have to second Kyle here. The all-white secondary is becoming a menace. Let’s see some creativity, please. But, I like the peach, so call it good.
Chicago Fire (primary)
Kyle: Chicago’s new primary kit replaces one that was very similar, but now has a wider white stripe and larger sponsor logo. It’s a great look, but do we really need a larger sponsor logo? Rating: 4 stars
CJ: Crisp, clean, with a garish advertisement. Par for the course in the sport these days, so we’ll go with good.
Columbus Crew (secondary)
Kyle: Columbus replaces an all-black secondary kit with…another all-black secondary kit, this time with fewer yellow accents. It’s not bad, but not exactly inspiring either. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: I mean…it’s not bad, but could you do something different? At all? Push.
DC United (primary)
Kyle: DC United is most known in the league for their all-black look, and their new take on it includes horizontal dark gray stripes. More red wouldn’t hurt but that’s me being picky and this is overall a nice look to enter their new stadium (expected to open in July). Rating: 4 stars
CJ: I have to agree with Kyle, I’d like to see more red. That being said, I like the subtle striping effect. Good.
Montreal Impact (patch)
Kyle: In an interesting move, Montreal are the only team in the league without a new kit as they retain their black and blue striped primary and simply add a 25th season patch and plan to debut new primary and secondary kits next season. Call me a huge fan of this move as this is probably my favorite kit in the league, so I’m glad that it will see the field for another season. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: Two years ago I believe I decried this kit as busy, and that still holds true here. It’s good but it could be a lot better.
New England Revolution (primary)
Kyle: The Revs add a new primary which remains navy with 2 vertical stripes, but now the stripes are shades of blue and on the side rather than red and white down the middle. A significant downgrade for me. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Give me back the red and white! Show some consistency with the team color scheme in your primary design, guys. Stupid.
New York City FC (secondary)
Kyle: NYCFC’s new secondary kit is all gray with jagged light blue sections by the shoulders. This continues the trend of their secondary kits looking like training tops and I’m really not a fan of the jagged design element. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Extremely 90s look here from NYCFC, and not in the cool retro way. Stupid design choices.
New York Red Bulls (secondary)
Kyle: The Red Bulls take a detour from their recent history of navy/yellow secondary kits by introducing a red over white secondary look. More often than not, I’m a fan of staying within your team’s colors, and there’s nothing to find wrong here. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: It’s red. That’s different. I guess. Push. Very little creative drive.
Orlando City (secondary)
Kyle: Orlando City replace their original all-white secondary kit with another all-white secondary kit, this time without purple sleeves. Although the color purple is unique to Orlando in the league, this kit doesn’t stand out amongst the many all-white kits and could really use a larger splash of purple and/or gold. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: This league is dying in a sea of white kits. Stupid.
Philadelphia Union (primary)
Kyle: CJ’s team has a new primary kit which is all-navy with sublimated horizontal stripes to replace their traditional navy/gold/navy vertical stripe kit. This is a huge downgrade in my opinion as their traditional look was not only uniquely Union, it was also a great kit. This one feels bland in comparison. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Buckle up. This team has done very little to improve the on field product in recent years. Looking like garbage bags is not going to help that problem. It makes the advertising look even worse now. But hey, at least they inked a deal with Levi’s so the front office and team will wear jeans in public! Feel the excitement! Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Toronto FC (secondary)
Kyle: Defending MLS Cup champions Toronto have a new white secondary kit with red and black accents. I like this kit better than the all-whites of Atlanta or Orlando because the red collar and black sleeve trim allow the jersey to pop more and incorporate the team’s color scheme. Rating: 4 stars
CJ: The tsunami of white kits continues. Red collar is not enough for me. Stupid and lazy.
Los Angeles FC (primary and secondary)
Kyle: LAFC joins MLS this season as the 23rd team in the league and has a brand new soccer-specific stadium. Their inaugural kits are all-black and all-white, each with identical gold accents. These are on the safe and simple side of the spectrum, but I wouldn’t have minded additional design elements for LAFC to establish an early identity. And while I often don’t like to include advertising in the discussion of a jersey, can we all agree that ads should be in team colors? Rating: 3 stars each
CJ: Are we sure these aren’t training tops? I don’t think a team could look more bland coming into the league. Give me something, any sort of design element. And more white secondary kits? Stupid.
Colorado Rapids (primary)
Kyle: The Rapids’ new primary kit removes the contrasting sleeves they have often employed, and adds sky blue shorts and accents. Personally I love the color combination which is more prevalent in England but in America, it’s distinctly the Rapids. And huge upgrade moving from white to sky blue shorts. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: Return to the sleeves, please. Otherwise I agree with Kyle here. Good.
FC Dallas (primary)
Kyle: With their new primary kit, FC Dallas decided to go “full Texas” by mimicking the block colors of the state flag, complete with a Lone Star on one of the sleeves. State flag uniforms continue to appear across all sports and although I prefer FC Dallas with hoops, this design in and of itself isn’t bad. Rating: 4 stars
CJ: I have to disagree with Kyle. Dallas is not the only team in Texas! Not to mention, they dropped their iconic hoops. Poor form. Stupid.
Houston Dynamo (secondary)
Kyle: Continuing the regional connections, the Dynamo’s new secondary kit remains black but now features a “tequila sunrise” style striping pattern across the chest. This is actually similar to their previous design which employed a similar striping pattern but in the form of a chevron. Their previous design grew on me and this one has an even closer connection to sports in Houston. Very nice. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: Count me in as a fan of the sunrise, but not on black. Overall, a victory. Good.
LA Galaxy (primary)
Kyle: The Galaxy own the sash look in MLS and their latest primary kit is no different. This version contains a large navy sash accompanied by two smaller yellow ones and is another excellent look. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Good.
Minnesota United (primary)
Kyle: Minnesota’s second season in the league sees them introduce a new primary jersey featuring horizontal light and dark gray stripes. I’m not a fan of any shades of gray as a primary color and the kit design is average, so here’s my (unsolicited) advice: Use more sky blue or bring back the winged jersey design from the NASL days! Rating: 3 stars
CJ: I’m a fan of this. If they’re gonna be the gray team, do something with it! Good.
Portland Timbers (secondary)
Kyle: The Timbers become the latest team to add an all-white kit to their inventory with a jersey that includes green and gold stripes on the collar and sleeves. As with Toronto, I love seeing the use of multiple team colors to accent an all-white kit, but I also liked the “Rose City Red” kits that these are replacing. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: White. White. White. White. Please. Something. Else. Stupid.
Real Salt Lake (primary)
Kyle: RSL’s new primary simply updates the sleeves by changing them to navy, and hopefully we see an increased use of the navy shorts. I’ve always loved how their colors complement each other and this has my vote as one of the league’s best looks. Rating: 5 stars
CJ: It’s a great look and I love to see it executed well. Good.
San Jose Earthquakes (secondary)
Kyle: The Earthquakes move away from their previous use of red in their secondary kit, and introduced an all-white kit with blue accents and a zigzag ‘fault-like’ pattern. The pattern creates a unique look for the ‘Quakes, but can someone convince them to pair this with blue shorts? Rating: 4 stars
CJ: Credit for the design, minus points for more white. Push.
Seattle Sounders (primary)
Kyle: The Sounders continue their unique ‘rave green’ and blue scheme with a new primary kit that also features a brush-stroke pattern on the front of the jersey. The brush-stroke thing isn’t terrible and I’m curious to see how it looks on the field, but I prefer the cleaner look. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: I’m torn here. The color scheme is unique, but the brushstrokes are a mixed bag. I’d like to see it on the field. Push.
Sporting Kansas City (secondary)
Kyle: SKC replaces a navy secondary kit with an all-black one which includes limited sky blue accents. This team has so much to offer with its shades of blue and argyle patterns that this rather generic design is more disappointing than usual for me. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: It’s not white! But it’s all black. Well, we went somewhere. Push.
Vancouver Whitecaps (secondary)
Kyle: Vancouver has gone the all-gray route with their new secondary kit. Count this as another missed opportunity to do something with shades of blue and move away from a generic look. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Boooooooooooooooring. This has been a down year in MLS kit design, for sure. Stupid.
Thanks fellas! And again, apologies to the readers for a new article on a topic we recently covered — CJ and Kyle will be back this summer (along with a special guest) to review the World Cup Kits — stay tuned!
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “A Giant Killer”
Subject: Chief Bender, October 24, 1911
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 12″ x 16
The client who commissioned this painting is a big Chief Bender fan. He went after this particular image probably because it’s one of the more iconic shots of the Hall of Famer. But also, and perhaps more importantly, that sweater. It was a challenge to make it actually feel like a sweater, and at the same time, bend and fold in space effectively. It had to feel hand-sewn, and noticeably different from the Athletics uniforms, which had to feel different from Bender’s skin. It’s all a game of relativity that starts with that sweater. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I wish those things would make a comeback.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Not often we see a single-digit pitcher, let alone a pitcher wearing No. 1! That’s Jen-Ho Tseng of the Cubs, who now have two single-digit pitchers, with Carl Edwards Jr. still wearing No. 6 (from Tom Ekstrand). … Lots of people sent this in: the Red Sox and Cardinals went red-vs-red and the Yankees and Braves went navy-vs-navy in the Grapefruit League yesterday (thanks to Reid Currie, Gregg Elkin,
NFL News: A Twitter user found this Carolina Panthers hat, and it brings up a ton of questions…why is it midnight green? Has anyone ever seen that CP logo? It bears no resemblance to the font used for the Panthers’ first wordmark. Strange (from @GameplanChicago). … Also posted in the hockey section: Tony Romo was at last night’s Hurricanes/Devils game and wore Canes gear. Romo is friends with new Canes owner Tom Dundon (from James Beattie).
College/High School Football News: Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County, Md., is having the student body vote on which helmet the football team will use next year (from Denver James King). … It might be the lighting, but UCLA appears to be darkening the shade of blue used on their helmet logo script (from Sean Mitchell).
Hockey News: The NHL has released the 2018 Entry Draft logo has been released (thanks, Paul). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: Christopher Moody found this Angels/Ducks crossover cap at a local retailer. It has New Era stickers, but those can be faked…does anyone know if this is officially licensed merchandise by either team? … This Senators fan has very strong opinions on the Maple Leafs. That nameplate doesn’t look official, and it stands to reason that one couldn’t order that off NHL.com even with customization (from @conejo_ape). … The Indy Fuel and Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL are both going with SpongeBob SquarePants sweaters for Nickelodeon Night next Friday (from Jim Fletcher). … The Swedish heavy metal band Meshuggah has a line of hockey-style apparel. Other artists, including Snoop Dogg, have collaborated with this apparel company (from Drew C.). … The Barclays Center scoreboard accidentally reported that the Canadiens’ No. 28 was Jakub Jeřábek (who now plays for the Capitals) rather than current No. 28 Mike Reilly (from Mike Engle). … Yesterday, Chipotle offered a buy-one-get-one deal to any customer who ordered in a hockey jersey (from Mike Chamernik). … The Wichita Thunder of the ECHL are having a fan vote for which fan-designed jersey they’ll wear for this Wednesday’s game against the Quad City Mallards (from Rad Kern, whose design is No. 5 in the vote). … The Chicago Steel of the USHL are wearing Geneva Vikings sweaters to support Geneva (Il.) Community High School (from Dan Campana). … Cross-posted from the NFL section: Tony Romo was at last night’s Hurricanes/Devils game and wore Canes gear. Romo is friends with new Canes owner Tom Dundon (from James Beattie). … The Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL had Dr. Seuss night last night, and wore these Cat in the Hat-inspired sweaters (from @j_tasca).
College/High School Hoops News: Elizabethtown (Ky.) High girls and Nelson County High girls went color-vs-color last evening. Nelson County High get a technical foul at the start of the game for coming out in the wrong uniform. Also, note the UNC-like logo at center court. That’s not for Nelson County (or Elizbethtown), that’s for Central Hardin High, which hosted the game (from Josh Claywell).
Soccer News: Germany’s World Cup clash kit has leaked. The green is a callback to Germany’s clash kits from the late 1980s and early 1990s (from Mikey Traynor). Comedian and reader Yale Hollander, however, noticed an unfortunate design element on the jersey. … Mexico’s World Cup away kit has also leaked, and it’s gorgeous. … Check out the bus Benfica players used to get to matches in 1954! Love the way the team name is painted (excellent find by @mike3783). … Adidas is will start selling fauxback jerseys for four of their biggest clients: Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus.
Grab Bag: Mad Magazine‘s April issue had an illustration of ‘literal sports logos‘. I need the Denver Nuggets/chicken nuggets logo on T-shirt. If you click on one thing in this ticker, make it this (form Robert Hayes). … Close To Home, the long-running comic strip, joked that the Winter Olympic Committee was considering “full contact curling to liven up a generally dull sport.” 1) Curling is most certainly not dull and 2) the uniforms drawn were basically as football uniforms sans the high socks (from Kevin Weir). … Last night’s Wales/South Africa rugby sevens match was a nigthmare for colorblind fans (from Patrick Johnston).